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Harihar Prasad Tripathi Vs. District Magistrate, Mirzapur and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No 2808 of 1960
Judge
Reported inAIR1961All365
ActsUttar Pradesh Town Areas, 1914 - Sections 5(2), 10, 10(1)(2) and 36(1)(2); Constitution of India - Article 345; Uttar Pradesh Official Language Act, 1951 - Sections 2(2)
AppellantHarihar Prasad Tripathi
RespondentDistrict Magistrate, Mirzapur and anr.
Appellant AdvocateSatish Chandra, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....void - held, notification not void. - - the purpose underlying super-session of the committee is also in favour of the inference that the word 'members' in clause (a) should embrace the chairman as well. this purpose would not in my view be effectively served if, as a result of supersession of the committee, only the elected members go out and the chairman remains. to sum up, the conspectus of the dictionary meaning of the word 'supersede',the purpose and structure of section 36 shows, i think, unmistakably that on the supersession of the town area committee in the instant case, both the elected members as well as the chairman of the committee were unseated......further provides as follows :-'(2) the committee shall consist of :- (a) the chairman, and(b) the elected members.....' 6. it appears to me to be plain from sub-section (2) of section 5 that the word 'committee' has been used in the act as a compendious name for the (chairman and the elected members. in other words, the word 'committee' means the chairman and the elected members. overlooking for the time being sub-section (2) of section 38 and confining myself only to sub-section (1) thereof, i shall first endeavour to ascertain what is the consequence of the supersession of a committee.when a committee is superseded, it means it is removed. since the word 'committee', in my view, means the chairman and the elected members together, it would follow that removal of the committee really.....
Judgment:

S.N. Dwivedi, J.

1. The petitioner, Harihar Prasad Tripathi, is a Bakshi in the Town Area, Kachhwa, constituted under the U.P. Town Areas Act (hereinafter called the Act). There was a Town Area Committee, which looked after the affairs of the Town Area. By a notification dated, August 3, 1960, and published in the U. P. Gazette, dated August 13, 1960, the State Government, in exercise of its powers under Section 36 (1) of the Act, made an order superseding the Town Area Committee for a period of two years, or till the next general election whichever was earlier.

A copy of the notification superseding the Committee is annexure D to the affidavit accompanying the writ petition. On October 6, 1960 the petitioner received an order, dated October 1, 1960, from the District Magistrate, Mirzapur, suspending him pending conclusion of an enquiry against him. A charge sheet signed by the District Magistrate was also served upon him. The petitioned was asked by the District Magistrate to submit his reply to the charges by October, 14, 1960, On October 13, 1960, the petitioner submitted his reply. So far no further action has been taken and disciplinary proceedings against the petitioner are still pending. It is at this stage that the petitioner has rushed up to this Court for relief under Article 226 of the Constitution.

2. Learned counsel for the petitioner has contended that the District Magistrate has no power to initiate any disciplinary proceeding against the petitioner. He supports his contention in two ways.

3. Sub-section (1) of Section 10 of the Act provides that the Chairman of the Committee shall appoint the permanent staff subject in the Case of the Bakshi to the approval of the prescribed authority or, if none is appointed, the District Magistrate. Sub-section (2) thereof provides that the Chairman may fine, suspend or dismiss any member of the permanent staff so appointed subject, in the case of the dismissal of any member of the staff, whose pay exceeds Rs. 30/- per month, to confirmation by the prescribed authority, or, if none is appointed, the District Magistrate.

It is admitted that no prescribed authority has been appointed. Sub-section (1) of Section 36 of the Act empowers the State Government to make an order superseding a Town Area Committee for a period not exceeding two years, if the State Government is of opinion that the Committee persistently makes default in the performance of the duties imposed on it by or under this Or any other Act, or exceeds or abuses its powers. Sub-section (2) thereof specifies consequences of supersession of a Committee. It may be set out here:-

'When a Committee is so superseded, the following consequences shall ensue:-

(a) all members of the Committee shall as from the date of the order vacate their offices as such members;

(b) all powers and duties of the Committee may, during the period of supersession, be exercised and performed by the prescribed authority or, if none is appointed, the District Magistrate;

(c) on the expiration of the period of supersession specified in the order the Committee shall be reconstituted as though the term fixed under Section 6 had expired, and the persons who vacated their offices under Clause (a) of Sub-section (2) shall not be deemed disqualified for being members.'

4. The first argument is that the Chairman, in whom the power to suspend and dismiss an employee of the Committee is vested by Section 10, is not deprived of his office on supersession of the Committee, and that accordingly the Chairman, who survived supersession of the Committee in the instant case, could alone take any action against the petitioner. The question that falls for consideration therefore is whether the Chairman of the Committee is also deprived of his office as a consequence of supersession of the Committee. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 1936 Edition, Vol. II, page 2084, assigns to the word 'supersede', inter alia, the following meanings:-

(1) to make of no effect; to render void, nugatory, or useless; to annul; to override;

(2) to be set aside as useless or obsolete; to be replaced by something regarded as superior;

(3) to take the place of (something set aside or abandoned); to succeed to the place occupied by; to serve, be adopted or accepted instead of;

(4) to supply the place of (a person deprived of or removed from an office or position) by another;

(5) of a person; to take the place of (some one removed from an office or promoted), to succeed and supplant (a person) in a position of any land,

5. According to the dictionary meaning there is inherent in the word 'supersede' the idea that something or some person is being removed and substituted by another thing or another person. In other words one consequence of supersession is the removal of something or some person and substitution therefor of another thing or another person. Now Sub-section (1) of Section 36 provides for the supersession of a Town Area Committee. The expression 'Town Area Committee' is not defined in the Act, but Sub-section (1) of Section 5 provides that there shall be a Committee established for each Town Area. Sub-Section (2) thereof further provides as follows :-

'(2) The Committee shall consist of :-

(a) the Chairman, and

(b) the elected members.....'

6. It appears to me to be plain from Sub-section (2) of Section 5 that the word 'Committee' has been used in the Act as a compendious name for the (Chairman and the elected members. In other words, the word 'Committee' means the Chairman and the elected members. Overlooking for the time being Sub-section (2) of Section 38 and confining myself only to Sub-section (1) thereof, I shall first endeavour to ascertain what is the consequence of the supersession of a Committee.

When a Committee is superseded, it means it is removed. Since the word 'Committee', in my view, means the Chairman and the elected members together, it would follow that removal of the Committee really results in the removal of the Chairman and the elected members of the Committee. Now coming to Sub-section (2) of Section 36, it appears to me that Clause (a) of Sub-section (2) seeks to make plain something that is latent in Sub-section (1) of Section 36.

Even if Clause (a) were not there, it would still have to be held, in view of the meaning of the word 'supersede', that the Chairman and the elected members of the Committee would make an exit after the Committee has been superseded. Clause (a of Sub-section (2) need not, in my view, have been enacted at all and, if I guess aright, the Legislature has perhaps inserted it by way of abundant caution.

7. Accordingly it is not possible to argue successfully from the words 'members of the Committee' in Clause (a) that only the elected members cease to exist on supersession of the Committee. In its context, the phrase includes both the elected members of the Committee and the Chairman. It may be observed here that the phrase speaks of 'members and not 'the elected members', which expression is found in Section 5 (2), which describes the constitution of the Committee.

If the Legislature had intended that only the elected members of the Committee were required to vacate their offices on supersession of the Committee, I think that it would then have used the expression 'elected members' instead of 'members' in Clause (a). As already said, Section 5 provides that the Committee shall consist of Chairman and the elected members. The Chairman is, therefore, also a member of the Committee (see Abdul Aziz v. State of Uttar Pradesh : AIR1958All109 ).

The inference that the word 'members' in Clause (a) also includes the Chairman gets some support from Clause (c) of Sub-section 2. This clause provides that on the expiry of the period of supersession the Committee shall be reconstituted as though the term fixed under Section 6 had expired. In providing that the Committee shall be reconstituted, Clause (c) in effect contemplates that there shall be it fresh election of Chairman and the elected members of the Committee.

If the Legislature intended that the word 'members' in Clause (a) should refer only to elected members of the Committee, I should think that the Legislature would have made it clear in Clause (c) that on the expiry of the period of supersession of the Committee, there shall be a fresh election to elect the elected members of the Committee.

8. To sum up, the context of the word 'members' in Clause (a) of Sub-section (2) suggests that the word includes not only the elected members but also the Chairman. The purpose underlying super-session of the Committee is also in favour of the inference that the word 'members' in Clause (a) should embrace the Chairman as well. The purpose of Section 36 is in substance to recall the delegation of power of local self-government made by the Government from the elected representatives of the people, who have mismanaged affairs, and to entrust the affairs of the Town Area to Government Officers for the purpose of restoring the Town Area to nor-mal conditions.

This purpose would not in my view be effectively served if, as a result of supersession of the Committee, only the elected members go out and the Chairman remains. To sum up, the conspectus of the dictionary meaning of the word 'supersede', the purpose and structure of Section 36 shows, I think, unmistakably that on the supersession of the Town Area Committee in the instant Case, both the elected members as well as the Chairman of the Committee were unseated. In the result, after the supersession order in August, 1960, there is no Chairman,

9. The next question is who could exercise the powers of Chairman under Section 10 after supersession. 'Clause (b) of Sub-section (2) of Section 36 provides that all powers and duties of the Committee may, during the period of supersession be exercised and performed by the prescribed authority, or, if none is appointed, the District Magistrate, It is admitted that there is no prescribed authority with respect to the Town Area Committee in the instant case.

Since I have already held that the word 'Committee' has been used in the Act as a collective nomenclature for the Chairman and the elected members, it follows that by virtue of Clause (b) of Sub-section (2) the District Magistrate enjoys the powers of the Chairman under Section 10. Accordingly he can suspend the petitioner and take disciplinary action against him.

10. The second argument is that the original of the notification, superseding the Committee, being in the English language in contravention of the provisions of Section 2 of the U. P, Official Language Act, 1951, is invalid. The notification is annexure D to the affidavit accompanying the petition. It is in English, and at its bottom there is the endorsement :

'Copy with a spare copy together with Hindi translation forwarded to Superintendent, Printing and Stationary, Uttar Pradesh, Allahabad, for favour of publication in the next issue of the U. P, Gazette'.

In paragraph 13 of the affidavit it is stated that:

'it appears that the order superseding the Town Area, Kachhwa was made and passed originally in the English language and that the said order of supersession was not made or passed in the Hindi language'.

It appears from the annexure that the original notification is issued in English. Section 2 of the U. P. Official Language Act reads :

'Without prejudice to the provisions of Articles 346 and 347 of the Constitution, Hindi in Deonagri script shall, with effect from such date within one year from the commencement of this Act, as the State Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, appoint in this behalf, be the language used in respect of the following :

(a) (i) ordinances promulgated under Article 213 of the Constitution.

(ii) orders, rules, regulations and bye-laws issued by the State Government under the Constitution of India or under any law made by Parliament or the Legislature of the State, and

(b) all or any of the official purposes of the State; and different dates may be appointed for different purposes in Clauses (a) and (b) aforesaid'.

By a notification dated October 13, 1952 the State Government has appointed November 1, 1952 as the date with effect from which Hindi in Deonagari script shall be the language used in respect of matters, falling under Sub-clauses (i) and (ii), of Clause (a) of Section 2. We are not concerned in this case with Sub-clause (i) of Clause (a)

In view of Sub-clause (ii) of Clause (a) the language of orders, rules, regulations and bye-laws issued by the Slate Government under the Constitution or under any law made by Parliament or the Legislature of the State, would be Hindi in Deonagari script. But the sub-clause does not obviously extend to orders, rules, regulations and bye-laws made under a law enacted by any legislative authority before the commencement of the Constitution.

The U, P. Town Areas Act, 1914, is a law, which was passed before the commencement of the Constitution and is neither a law made by Parliament nor a law made by the Legislature of the State Sub-clause (ii) will, therefore, not apply to a notification. issued under Section 36 of the Act. The words of Sub-clause (ii) are quite plain and unambiguous, and they cannot be strained to extend to laws enacted before the commencement of the Constitution,

11. Learned counsel for the petitioners has invited my attention to Clause (1) of Article 372 of the Constitution, Clause (1) provides that notwithstanding the repeal by the Constitution of the enactments referred to in Article 395 but subject to the other provisions of the Constitution, all the laws in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of the Constitution shall continue in force thereunder until altered or repealed or amended by a competent legislature or other competent authority.

He has also referred me to Section 36 of the Act as it stood before the commencement of the Constitution. During the pre-Constitution period the power of superseding a Town Area Committee was vested in the Provincial Government. In the post-Constitution period the President of India, by the Adaptation of Laws Order, 1950, substituted the expression 'State Government' for the expression 'Provincial Government' in Section 36. Learned counsel seeks to peg on this nominal adaptation the argument that the impugned notification was in substance a notification under the Constitution. I think it is an argument which needs to be stated only to be rejected. The impugned notification has been obviously issued under Section 36 of the Act.

12. The impugned notification may, however be caught by the expression 'any of the official purposes of the State' in Clause (b) of the Act; nevertheless it is in my opinion not invalid. Article 345 of the Constitution provides that subject to the provisions of Articles 346 and 347 the Legislature of a State may by law adopt Hindi as the language to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State, provided that until such law has been enacted, English shall continue to be used for those official purposes of the State for which it was being used in the pre-Constitution days.

Arts. 346 and 347 have no bearing on the case. Then Clause (1) of Article 348 provides, inter alia, that the authoritative texts of all Acts of Parliament and of the Legislature of a State, of all orders, rules, regulations, and bye-laws issued under the Constitution or under any law made by Parliament or the Legislature of a Slate shall be in the English language, Clause (3) thereof permits a State Legislature to adopt Hindi as the language for these purposes and further provides that on the Legislature so enacting, a translation of the legislation, and of rules, regulations, orders and bye-laws issued under the Constitution or under any law made by it or by Parliament shall be published in the English language in the Gazette of the State and shall be deemed to be the authoritative text thereof in the English language.

In view of my opinion already expressed the instant case is governed not by Article 348 but Article 345. 'This Article enacts a permissive provision and is ex-pressed in the affirmative. It does not declare that after enactment of a law by a State Legislature adopting Hindi as the language for any of the official purposes of the State any order made by the State and expressed in the English language shall be void. Nor does the U. P. Official Language Act say so. Accordingly I find it difficult to conclude that the impugned English notification is invalid.

It has been held that when the provisions of an Act relate to the performance of a public duty and the case is such that to hold null and void acts done in neglect of this duty would work serious general inconvenience, or injustice to persons who have no control over those entrusted with the duty, such provisions are directory only, the neglect of them not affecting the validity of the acts done. (See Biswanath Khemka v. Emperor ; J. K. Gas Plant . v. Emperor, 1947 FCR 141: (AIR 1947 FC 38), Dattatraya Moreshwar v. State of Bombay : 1952CriLJ955 ; and State of U. P. v. Manbodhan Lal : (1958)IILLJ273SC .

13. As a result of the foregoing discussion I am of opinion that the English notification superseding the Town Area Committee, Kachhwa is valid.

14. I have already held that after the supersession of the Committee the Chairman ceased to exist and his powers under Section 10 of the Act could be exercised by the District Magistrate by virtue of Clause (b) of Sub-section (2) of Section 36 of the Act. The District Magistrate cannot, therefore, be said to have suspended the petitioner and initated disciplinary proceedings against him in any unauthorised manner, and accordingly no intervention is called for at this stage in this case.

15. The petition is accordingly dismissed.


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